Wyandotte Chickens, In the Pecking Order, Come Out Tops
The Wyandotte fowl originates from Ontario in Canada and also around upstate New York. They used to be called the American Sebright but this name was changed to the Wyandotte Chickens from a Native American tribe who lived in these areas with their long and interesting history.
There are still a few members of this tribe who still live in Northern Oklahoma and the logo for the Silver Wyandotte Club of America features a drawing of the Indian tepee.
The first ever Wyandotte was a Silver laced Wyandotte which was bred in Wisconsin in the USA.
Table of Contents
- Characteristics of the Wyandotte
- Origins of The plumage of The Wyandotte
- Types of Wyandotte chickens
- The colors and variations of an earthy rainbow
- Why People Love Getting Wyandotte Chickens:
- Where do you find the Wyandottes?
- Other interesting bits about the Wyandotte birds:
- Protecting our Wyandottes!
- Final Verdict
Characteristics of the Wyandotte
In the American Poultry Association ‘Standard of Perfection’, the Wyandotte fowl is described as a ‘curvy’ bird, but well balanced. This means its legs are set squarely under the center of the bird’s body.
The Wyandotte carries its body in a horizontal-type position on its stout and yellow shanks. If you look at this bird from the front view, you will note that its legs are well-spread and quite heavily boned.
The shank of the bird is medium in length and you can see its full hock. The hock (if you don’t know) is the joint situated between the shank and drumstick on the bird.
Basically, it is the "ankle"-joint of a bird. The Wyandotte breast is wide and full, although the back is of a medium length.
A standard Wyandotte cock will weigh in at about 8½ pounds, the cockerel at about 7½ pounds, a hen will weigh in at about 6½ pounds and a pullet will weigh in at about 5½ pounds.
An interesting characteristic of a Wyandotte is its skull which has good breadth; actually a broader skull in comparison to other American class breeds.
It has a bold look to its head with its crowning feature being is rose comb. The typical rose comb of the Wyandotte is low and it is tight to its head.
This follows down the head, ending at the back of its head to a neat spike. It has a short neck which is well curved with plenty of hackle feathers.
The hackle is well-rounded in order to carry out an unbroken line of both neck and head.
Back and Tail
The back reveals what looks like a short space just above the Wyandotte’s shoulders. This is level and then rises to the tail, blending in smoothly and evenly.
There isn’t a break where the back levels off and where the tail starts. This is the reason why some people think that the Wyandotte's have shorter backs.
But it’s not the case. The breadth of the Wyandotte’s back gets carried out in the broadness of the body.
So when you see the sideline of the bird looking down on the bird, everything appears smooth with no indentations.
The Wyandotte’s wings are held level and they are not too long. The wings are snugly folded and held in place.
It has a short well-spread tail at the base. The male’s sickle feathers are of medium-length, curving well over the end of its main tail feathers.
The top of the tail is level with the head and neck junction, lining up with the earlobes.
Feathers of the Wyandotte’s are a bit softer and looser than the other breeds in the American class.
Origins of The plumage of The Wyandotte
The Silver Laced Wyandotte chicken variety was the original Wyandotte, but its origins still are a bit unsure. There are some who suggest that the Dark Brahma which was used than produced the early crosses.
Others talk about a breed called Chittagong with a view varieties in it. The Plumage of the Chittagong was bits of yellow and brown.
Some earlier chicken writers claim that the Brahma blood brought about the creation of the Chittagong.
Other writers agree that there was another breed that created the Wyandotte as well and that it was the Silver Sebright (this is not the bantam fowl with the same name).
This breed of Wyandotte seems to have had the laced plumage-pattern. There doesn’t seem to be any proof of the origin of the Silver Sebright’s origin except that it was imported.
A few thoughts seem to go around as to its actual origin, but the most popular and accepted idea was the Polish, the Breda and the Silver Hamburg (Mooneys) which were varieties in the creation of the Silver Sebright.
Types of Wyandotte chickens
There are different types of Wyandotte chickens and some are ultra rare such as:
- Black Copper Marans
- Blue Easter Egger
- Blue Favaucana
- Cream Legbar
- Lavender Orpington
- Olive Eggers
- Partridge Olive Egger
- Snowy Easter Egger
- Super Blue Egg Layer
- BBS Ameraucana
- Blue Copper Marans
- Blue Orpington
- Blue Splash Marans
- Buff Chantecler
- Double Laced Barnevelder
- Frost White Legbar
The colors and variations of an earthy rainbow
With Wyandotte Chickens, you will find about 17 different colors; the most well-known ones being the Golden Laced Wyandotte chicken, the silver penciled, blue-laced, buff, Laender, partridge, pure white and black.
So What Are the Variations?
Silver Laced Wyandotte: The silver laced Wyandotte have beautiful white feathers, each feather edged in black, called “lacing”. This variety has a black tail and the bird legs should have yellow.
Blue Laced Red Wyandotte: It has a buff-red color with a blueish-grey color around the edges of all the feathers
Golden Laced Wyandotte: It is a beautiful golden color with black edges around every feather and also a black tail, A Golden laced Wyandotte chicken speaks for itself. Golden Laced Wyandotte chickens are a favorite amongst backyard chicken owners.
White: White all over. The rarest color in the Wyandotte.
Black: Pure black all over.
Buff: Buff all over (gingery-orange color).
Buff Laced: Buff-colored but have white around the edges of the feathers.
Partridge: Beautiful reddish color. It has three black stripes that meet in the middle of the feather, going outwards. The cock is the typical-looking story-book farmyard type cock.
Columbian: This fowl is white and also has a black tail with black wing tips and a black neck, although some white can be seen.
Red: Dark reddish/brown all over.
Mille Fleur: Dark brown with black crescents. White spots on the tip.
Barred: Black and whites strip across the feather width, seen all over the body.
Buff Columbian: Like the Columbian above, except buff-colored.
Silver Penciled: Like with the Partridge Wyandotte, but the hen has a silver under-color while the cock color is white with the bit of black until you reach the tail and wings color is black.
Blue: All over the blue in the hen and black for the cock but for blue wings and tail which are blue.
In the USA, 9 beautiful colors of Wyandotte chickens are recognized by the American Poultry Association, in their Standard of Perfection.
There are no rules in naming any new breeds in the USA, but generally, most breeds are named from the locality from whence they come.
So, for instance you will find Rhode Island Reds or New Hampshire and other names.
30 Colors are listed in Europe and in Great Britain they list their Wyandotte colors as barred, blue, black, blue-laced, buff, blue partridge, buff, buff-laced, Gold laced, Columbian, partridge, silver-laced, red, white and silver-penciled.
There are also new color variations of Wyandotte chickens that are being created still by breeders from all over the world and one of the newest colors is the “Chocolate Partridge”.
Why People Love Getting Wyandotte Chickens:
- They certainly know how to strut their stuff in in the chicken runs of the world. They are in the “large” category, the male ones weighing in at around 8½ lbs and the females around 6 lbs. Wyandottes also come in the bantam type range and these can weigh around 3 to nearly 4 lbs.
- They have strong personalities and are hardy birds. The Golden Laced Wyandotte is a favorite of backyard fowl owners for their nature, their hardiness and their dependable egg-laying abilities.
- They have strong characters and look confident as they strut their stuff, but they are calm and friendly birds.
- The Wyandotte’s love chatting and are talkative and companionable.
- They enjoy their free-ranging, especially the older ones. Even though they do love to free range, they are able to manage on less space than some of the other large chicken breeds.
- They make excellent mothers and incubate another hen’s chickens as well.
- Because their feathers are loosely-packed, they tend to look quite fluffy, but it also helps them to cope well in the colder weather.
- They are lovely to look at.
- For those just starting out and learning about chickens etc. the Wyandottes are a good type of breed with their calm, strong and friendly personalities.
- If you have to fault the Wyandotte, it would be that they have narrow backs, some turn out undersized and they are relatively poor at hatching.
- Sometimes offspring come with a single comb from rose-combed parents. Apparently, it’s a “known” secret that some particular Wyandotte’s lines aren’t pure enough to have the Rose comb genes. Apparently, breeders allow this because the pure birds with Rose combs have lower fertility rates.
- Silkies are the chickens that become very broody and the Wyandotte sometimes can be the same, although the urge is not quite as strong in the Wyandotte.
- They are very talkative, which means that if you are not living out far away from people, people can get fed up with the constant noise and complain.
- They are not cuddly pets that will do well in enclosed spaces.
Where do you find the Wyandottes?
- It is important to get your Wyandottes from a good breeder, a reputable one. Some breeders will call their chickens a Wyandotte, but they could well just be hybrids!
- If you do want only a true Wyandotte, look for the typical characteristics of the Wyandottes. The breeder too, should be one who has a passion for his Wyandottes and you can see that in the healthy good looking birds he will keep.
- Don’t buy from websites for example like Craigslist or e-bay; there can be authentic sellers on the site, but there certainly also can be times when you are sold birds that have not been bred properly or you are sold infertile eggs. Look on the website for the right links or buy true poultry magazines.
Other interesting bits about the Wyandotte birds:
- The average lifespan of the Wyandotte will range from around 6-12 years.
- Even though it is considered a large, fowl, it does also come in bantam size.
- They are thought of as being a dual-purpose breed. This is because of their egg laying abilities and their heavy weight.
- A Wyandotte chicken is considered a decent egg-layer and will lay around 200 large eggs in a year. Generally, they lay through the winter as well as the summer months whilst other breeds tend to slow on their egg production.
- They naturally require fresh water and nutritious food and a safe and secure Chicken Coop is what is required to keep them roosting and laying their eggs. They need a well-ventilated coop.
- Keep them healthy from worms and have them vaccinated if necessary. Vaccinations are a good way to prevent or even reduce the effects of certain diseases in poultry, but it does not replace good husbandry.
- Because the Wyandotte is rather fluffy and feathery at its behind, the droppings can become messy. If this is a problem, just trimming the feathers around could fix this problem.
- They offer great backyard garden companionship and lovely fresh eggs all year long.
- Imagine having every color! The silver laced Wyandotte chicks grow up to be of the most sought out silver laced adults, being considered of the most attractive and popular.
Protecting our Wyandottes!
It is very important that the Wyandottes don’t disappear – become extinct. That is why they have become known as amongst others, a Heritage Breed. Check out this top - Chicken Feeder and Waterer Plans for your chicken.
The American Livestock Breeds aim is to secure “heritage” into the agricultural marketplace. Heritage chickens are noted to:
- Mate naturally
- Long lives
- Slow growing
- Produce without the use of artificial insemination. Hens must produce for 5-7 years and a rooster for 3-5 years (which is unheard of in the commercial sector).
- Heritage chicks mature in 16-18 weeks compared to 6-weeks for the industrial breeds.
The aim is for long-term conservation, to recover the breeds to the early cultural and culinary treasures known in the past – we can’t let go of the Wyandottes.
Those same chickens that our grandparents of old used to allow to compost the grass before settling into their straw nests to lay their eggs.
Need to come back into our modern times – in our backyards and our farms – certainly, something to crow about.